Hell no. Let me say again, HELL NO.
Joan Sewell’s new book sure is turning heads. Teaching women about how to love their low libidos and I see why. While malestream media applauds her efforts, clearly the intervention must lie with those of us that really can’t relate to this low libido crap. This piece by Danielle Egan on Alternet breaks down some of the scientific and socio-cultural problems with her theory.
“Women’s sexual motivation is far more complex than simply the presence or absence of sexual desire,” writes Dr. Rosemary Basson of the B.C. Centre for Sexual Medicine in an intriguing 2005 Canadian Medical Association Journal paper. Diagnostic categories reflect a genitally focused model of sexual function, she says, while in the real world, “women describe overlapping phases of sexual response that blend the responses of mind and body.” So, many facets of women’s sexual function don’t jive with the diagnostic model.
Making women’s sexual desire a pathology ignores greater issues that might cause women to have low sex drives. She goes into a lot of the incentives that pharmaceutical companies have for marketing low sex drive as neurological. Also,
Hormones, like testosterone, can also increase a woman’s sexual arousal, but studies have also found that “environmental changes” also do the trick, including a new partner.
Basson contends that the reported prevalence of “hypoactive sexual disorder” in women of around 30 to 40 per cent may be wrong and misleading. She expects the numbers of women diagnosed to decline “when (or if) it becomes widely known that lack of spontaneous or initial desire” does not by itself mean there’s a sexual disorder.
Sewell herself briefly argues against the medicalization of women’s sexuality and comes to reject the notion that she’s abnormal. This is where her story could get interesting and educational for others, particularly considering the controversies in the medical field. But Sewell prefers the sugar-coated quick-fix Cosmo-friendly stuff, and when these tactics fail to rev up her libido, she falls back on the biology argument.
I mean the reality is that there are a variety of reasons that contribute to low sex drive such as low self esteem, bad partners, unrealistic expectations, repressed homosexuality and the list continues. But if material like this continues to surface and used to help unhappy women justify their crappy sex lives, well that just really sucks for them. *Feminist do it better.*
Like Egan says, have sex AND chocolate (and at the same time dammit!) and whatever else you want. It is all so good and it is all possible. Or maybe try and love yourself the way you are and not use flawed science to justify problems that could be cultural and interpersonal. I am not suggesting that some people aren’t more into sex than others, but don’t let them get off the hook that easy. Make ‘em work for it.